The role of Cr3+and Cr4+in emission brightness enhancement and sensitivity improvement of NIR-emitting Nd3+/Er3+ratiometric luminescent thermometers

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Abstract

Despite the numerous advantages of lanthanide based luminescent thermometers, a major limitation is the limited brightness associated with the low absorption cross section of the 4f-4f transitions. In this paper, co-doping with Cr3+/4+is proposed as a strategy to enhance the near-infrared luminescence emission of Nd3+/Er3+-based luminescent thermometers, as well as to modulate the temperature sensitivity of the ratio of Nd3+to Er3+in YAG microcrystals. It was found that an increase in the Cr3+concentration leads to the enhancement of the YAG:Nd3+,Er3+emission intensityviathe Cr3+→ Ln3+sensitization process. The quantitative analysis of the absolute brightness indicates the 30-fold enhancement of their near infrared emission upon broad white light excitation for 20% Cr3+with respect to the non co-doped with the Cr3+counterpart. In addition, the phonon-assisted nature of the simultaneously occurring Cr3+→ Ln3+and Nd3+→ Cr4+→ Er3+energy transfers leads to a 7-fold increase of the relative temperature sensitivity of the ratio of Nd3+to Er3+emission. In conclusion, co-doping with transition metals can enhance simultaneously the luminescence brightness and the temperature sensitivity of NIR luminescent thermometers, holding promise for sensitive and robust remote temperature sensing at physiological temperatures.

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Piotrowski, W., Dalipi, L., Szukiewicz, R., Fond, B., Dramicanin, M., & Marciniak, L. (2021). The role of Cr3+and Cr4+in emission brightness enhancement and sensitivity improvement of NIR-emitting Nd3+/Er3+ratiometric luminescent thermometers. Journal of Materials Chemistry C, 9(37), 12671–12680. https://doi.org/10.1039/d1tc03046a

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